(Updated June 1 at 4:50 p.m.) The family of an Arlington man shot by county police, after he allegedly rammed police vehicles with his van, is raising money to help pay for his medical care amid claims he was treated poorly while in custody.
Relatives of 51-year-old Steven Best have so far raised more than $5,100 through a GoFundMe page since police shot Best during the May 3 incident.
Arlington police say they were trying to pull Best over near the intersection of 12th Street S. and S. Edgewood Street, just off Columbia Pike, after spotting a woman in his car wanted on outstanding warrants for violating her probation.
Police allege that Best ignored commands from officers and struck their vehicles in an attempt to flee the scene, prompting two officers to shoot him. Department spokesman Ashley Savage added that neither Best nor the woman in his car, 40-year-old Jessica Lary of Annandale, “displayed any weapons during the incident,” and were arrested after being found hiding in the area.
Best is now charged with three counts of the attempted malicious wounding of a law enforcement officer, though he was released on bond on Tuesday (May 29).
During the last few weeks in police custody — in the hospital then in the Arlington County jail — Best’s family says he received “minimal medical care” for the six gunshot wounds he suffered. They are raising money to fund his “legal defense and medical rehabilitation.”
The family further alleges that Best was held “in protective custody and in isolation 23 hours a day” during his time behind bars, which took “a toll on him mentally and physically,” and that ACPD’s accounting of events leading to the shooting is false.
“We believe that this was an unlawful shooting by police, use of excessive force, abuse of power and now cover up,” the GoFundMe page says.
Maj. Susie Doyel, a spokeswoman for the county sheriff’s office, told ARLnow via email that Best was held in the detention facility’s medical unit, “where there are nurses on-duty 24 hours a day.”
“Mr. Best was initially placed on protective status due to the high profile of his case in the media (this is standard practice),” Doyel wrote. “However, he was removed from protective custody status on May 25. Had he not made bond, he would have gone to another unit once he had been cleared by medical.”
Best’s attorney, Michael Sgarlet, declined to comment on the case.
Best is set to appear in Arlington County District Court for a preliminary hearing on his charges on June 25.
“I believe in him,” Heather Rose-Walker, Best’s sister, wrote on the GoFundMe page. “However I don’t believe in the system anymore.”
Photo via GoFundMe
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